The Week In Sports Betting News: DraftKings Dominates Pre-NFL Chatter

Posted on September 8, 2020

Happy Tuesday, everyone. Sports betting news is about to turn much more positive this week with the long-awaited return of the NFL season this Thursday.

Not like newsflow has been slow, of course. Last week’s cycle was particularly dominated by DraftKings Sportsbook as companies continue to posture for media exposure before NFL betting begins.

These stories and more, including a breakdown of the recent PointsBetNBCUniversal deal, were detailed on the recent LSR Podcast.

And as always, follow @LSPReport for breaking news updates.

Top sports betting news: DraftKings owns headlines

DraftKings Sportsbook only announced two major pieces of news last week, but they were big enough to dominate the week.

First, DraftKings announced Michael Jordan would join the company as a special advisor to the board. Even with vague details, the company’s stock still jumped 8% on the news.

But the bigger news came Wednesday when DraftKings announced it would open a sportsbook at legendary Wrigley Field in Chicago. Nothing is definite with several steps still requiring approval, but the retail book is expected to open in 2022.

Finally, the sports betting industry got a look at the first DraftKings-SBTech sportsbook in Ireland. The launch is more of a test for the two before migrating from Kambi’s technology by next September.

5Dimes exits US market

Some significant offshore news broke over the holiday weekend as sports betting operator 5Dimes announced it would end its US business Sept. 21.

The company was vague in its reasoning but stated “We wish we could tell you everything about our future plans, but for now, please stay tuned and know we will reward your loyalty with extraordinary gaming experiences.”

That sounds like the company could be thinking about moving onshore to the regulated US sports betting market.

5Dimes is no stranger to the gambling world. The company launched an online casino originally in November 1996 from Costa Rica. Owner “Tony” Creighton was found dead in the country after he was missing for nearly a year.

Penn National stock could hit what?

Penn National’s stock has received a lot of attention since the company acquired 36% of Barstool Sports. The most recent initiation, however, set new expectations.

Craig-Hallum analyst Ryan Sigdhal initiated Penn National with a street-high $75 target that he thinks could eventually hit $200.

Dave Portnoy is a marketing genius,” Sigdahl wrote. “If millions of people follow his pizza reviews and stock trading, how many do you think will follow his sports betting recommendations? We think a lot.”

Sigdhal expects the Barstool Sportsbook app – which should finally launch this month – to take a 15% to 20% share of the US online sports betting and casino market. The company should lead the market with 30% EBITDA margins considering the cost of acquiring those Stoolies should be low.

PointsBet preparing for Illinois sports betting launch

The Australian-born sports betting operator is readying its next big step in the US market.

PointsBet is expected to launch in the Illinois sports betting market soon as US CEO Johnny Aitken was in Chicago last week.

The company will have a strong retail sportsbook presence surrounding Chicago. That’s important since the state requires in-person registration through at least the first year and a half of legal sports betting.

Depending on when the company launches its sports betting app, it could get some remote registrations as well. Gov. JB Pritzker allowed remote registration to return through at least Sept. 19.

theScore Bet latest launch in Colorado

The second state launch for theScore Bet finally happened last week with the app launching into the growing Colorado sports betting market.

CEO John Levy told LSR the company will use the same tactic as it does in New Jersey – funneling users from its popular media app – to power its business.

“Just like we did with our media app, we are going to build a loyal user base with smart and strategic marketing,” he said. “Rushing out to grab quick and, ultimately, unsustainable market share at a high-cost is not our business model.”

That’s not the end of the action for theScore Bet, though. An Indiana sports betting launch is also pending while the company explores other market access agreements.

Leagues asking for sports betting data access in VA

A handful of US sports leagues want a lot of Virginia sports betting data whenever they want it.

The MLB, NBA and PGA Tour submitted joint comments on proposed Virginia betting regulations. Included in that is a request to give leagues access to real-time bettor data whenever they choose and without the recommended permission from the Virginia Lottery’s executive director.

The three leagues also rejected the idea that sports leagues should be licensed in the state.

Wednesday is the final day to submit public comments on the regulations. The Lottery will approve the regulations Sept. 15.

Intralot’s sportsbooks sputtering with expensive offers

Here’s something apparently Intralot didn’t know: US bettors want good odds.

Neither of Intralot’s sportsbooks in Montana or Washington DC did even a halfway decent job of capturing the pent-up demand for major US sports when they returned in late July.

The two sportsbooks generated less than $6 million in combined handle since their launches earlier this year through mid-August.

Intralot and its US employees did not accept multiple requests for interviews.

Photo by Denise Truscello / Contributor, Getty Images
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Matthew Waters

Matthew Waters is a reporter covering legal sports betting and the gambling industry. Previous stops include Fantini Research and various freelance jobs covering professional and amateur sports in Delaware and the Philadelphia area.

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